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Coco takes center stage at the 2018 Annie Awards

Annie Awards, Awards, Cars 3, Coco, Pixar

Posted by Joanna • February 4, 2018

A huge congratulations is in order for all the talented Pixar employees who helped make Coco a reality – it took center stage at the Annie Awards ceremony last night by picking up 11 trophies!

Coco has been wowing audiences around the world since its release in Mexico last October – it has since picked up the Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature, and has been nominated for an impressive number of awards. The whole Coco crew had already done themselves proud by receiving 13 nominations at the 2018 Annie Awards, but going away with 11 wins (including Best Animated Feature) at the ceremony last night was truly well deserved. Here are all of Coco‘s winning categories:

Best Animated Feature
Outstanding Achievement for Animated Effects in an Animated Production
Outstanding Achievement for Character Animation in an Animated Feature Production
Outstanding Achievement for Character Design in an Animated Feature Production
Outstanding Achievement for Directing in an Animated Feature Production
Outstanding Achievement for Music in an Animated Feature Production
Outstanding Achievement for Production Design in an Animated Feature Production
Outstanding Achievement for Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production
Outstanding Achievement for Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production
Outstanding Achievement for Writing in an Animated Feature Production
Outstanding Achievement for Editorial in an Animated Feature Production

You can view the full breakdown on the Annie Awards site.

Amongst those accepting the trophy for Character Design was Daniela Strijleva (who created this incredible concept art for Héctor and his many disguises).

Anthony Gonzalez, at only 12 years old, won the Outstanding Achievement for Voice Acting award for voicing the charming, kind-hearted protagonist Miguel. Adrian Molina was amongst those credited for not only the writing award, but also the music and directing awards.

Cars 3 was also nominated for 2 awards (Best Animated Feature and Outstanding Achievement for Animated Effects in an Animated Production) but failed to pick up any trophies, with Coco really shaping up to be the stand-out Pixar movie of 2017 (or indeed the stand-out movie of 2017).

The next big awards ceremony will be The Academy Awards – exactly one month away (4th March 2018) – in which Coco has been nominated for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song. We have a lot to say on the subject of the Oscars so stay tuned! As always, we’d love to hear your predictions.

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Coco’s success continues with 13 Annie Awards nominations

Annie Awards, Cars 3, Coco

Posted by Joanna • December 4, 2017

In the short time since Coco‘s release, it’s already made a huge impact on the world, earning significant praise from fans and critics alike. It’s hardly surprising, but incredibly gratifying, that Coco has come out on top with the 45th annual Annie Awards nominations.

Coco received an impressive 13 nominations, including Best Animated Feature and Outstanding Achievement for Music in an Animated Feature Production. It even picked up a nomination for voice acting after Anthony Gonzalez’ spectacular performance as the protagonist Miguel, making him the youngest nominee in this section!

Cars 3 also received 2 nominations – one for Best Animated Feature, and one for Outstanding Achievement for Animated Effects in an Animated Production.

The Annie Awards is an annual event recognising achievements in the animation industry. The winners will be announced in their awards show on February 3rd, 2018. Congratulations to all the hard-working and dedicated staff that have worked on all of the nominated works!

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Cars 3 deleted scene: The Betrayal of Lightning McQueen

Brian Fee, Cars 3

Posted by Simoa • October 25, 2017

Cars 3 is now available on digital, and one of its deleted scenes has been shared online, courtesy of USA Today.

In an earlier version of the film, Lightning experiences betrayal at the wheels of Sterling (Nathan Fillion), the new owner of Rusteze. Sterling was skeptical of Lightning’s ability to race, preferring him to retire. But in this version, he replaces Lighting with Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo), his beloved new trainer, early on. Watch the clip below.


No doubt Cars 3 would have been a much more dramatic film had this scene remained. And it is interesting to speculate how Lightning and Cruz’s relationship would have evolved. There are so many directions encompassed in the filmmaking process, and it’s wonderful that Pixar shares them with us, including the directions not taken. While this scene contains some emotional weight surrounding Lightning’s journey as he’s pressured to retire, it’s for the best that it was cut. Director Brian Fee explains why brilliantly.

“We didn’t want McQueen to be the last one to realize her [Cruz’s] value; we wanted him to be the first to discover it.”

See this deleted scene and plenty more extras when you pick up Cars 3 on digital.

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Cars 3 Deleted Scene “The Boogie Woogie” Released

Brian Fee, Cars 3, Pixar

Posted by Joanna • October 21, 2017

With Cars 3 being released digitally on October 24th and on Blu-ray on November 7th, we’re excited to see all the deleted scenes and extras and get an insight into the movie’s production process.

Pixar have already treated us to one particular deleted scene – “The Boogie Woogie” – which features Cruz Ramirez and Lightning McQueen training on the beach. You can watch it below!

Cars 3 director Brian Fee talks us through the deleted ‘beach training’ scene, explaining that in this version, Cruz was much more experienced. In the final cut, Cruz ended up struggling to drive on the sandy terrain, skidding about all over the place, but this alternate deleted scene shows her driving faster than the Lightning McQueen right from the get-go. Her little ‘good luck charm’ routine that she likes to perform before a race is also incredibly endearing. Who knew these deleted scenes could make Cruz Ramirez even more likeable?

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In Depth: Why These Female Pixar Characters Mean So Much To Me

30 Years of Pixar, A Bug's Life, Brad Bird, Brave, Brenda Chapman, Cars 3, Finding Dory, Finding Nemo, Pete Docter, Pixar Heroines, The Incredibles, The Incredibles 2

Posted by Nia • October 20, 2017

It’s been over two weeks since the New York Times article on Harvey Weinstein was published and the dam finally burst in Hollywood. It seems almost unbearable to comprehend all the allegations that are still stacking up against Weinstein, not to mention the plethora of other men in the industry and beyond. The “me too” movement on social media has also shown a disturbing amount of women who have been sexually harassed and assaulted by co-workers, friends, and family members.

This past week I’ve found it hard to focus and carry on with my life, job, and day-to-day activities.  It’s empowering seeing women come together, but also distressing to learn how it’s happened to us all, one way or another.

I needed inspiration and I needed something to lift my spirits up so I turned to what I know best to help me in troubled times: Pixar films.

Over the years not only has Pixar produced some of the greatest animated films of all time, but they’ve also created some of the strongest and most relatable female characters in the business. I was going to try and talk about all of them, but then realized how long the post would be (actually this would make a wonderful book some day). Instead, I decided to pick my three most important female characters and share why they mean so much to me both as a woman, and as a professional working in the animation industry.

Merida

Brave came out at a perfect time in my life, I was a sophomore in college and I was struggling with trying to figure out exactly what I wanted to do. I was feeling the pressure of comparing myself to other people my age; be it with work, relationships, and even school.  I was even feeling pressure from certain family members about my love life and if I was going to be getting married anytime soon (this is a true story for any Greek woman).

Then Merida arrived, with her ridiculous hair goals, amazing horse-riding skills, and sassiness I wish I had when I was a teenager.

Merida broke the mold when it came to princesses – she had her own goals and her own motivations that she wanted to achieve in life, even if it went completely against what her family has wanted for generations. She didn’t care what her family thought and she was ready to fight against her mom if it meant being able to do what SHE wanted to do in life. Maybe she didn’t really have any dreams or goals at the moment, and that was OK – as long as she wasn’t stuck being a princess and fitting the mold, then she was content. That was Merida’s life, and she wanted to pursue those dreams of being free and exploring the countryside with her horse.

I also really appreciated how independent she was and how she didn’t need romance in her life to be successful. She was content with being alone, even if that meant being isolated from her own family or off in the forest basking in her solitude, that didn’t matter to her; she didn’t need a man in her life to tell her what to do or to be content.

I was the biggest tomboy growing up, I got dirty rolling around and play fighting and spent most afternoons playing sports with the other kids. But I still liked to dress up and get pretty; that didn’t mean I had to do it all the time. I really appreciated how Merida didn’t always need to be pretty or dainty or wear fancy dresses and spend her time curtsying to all the men; she wanted to roll around in the mud, dance in the rain, ride on horseback, climb mountains, and shoot arrows. I loved that adventurous side of her and I loved that she didn’t let anyone tame her.

I wish I had Merida to look up to when I was that young tomboy.

 Cruz Ramirez

It’s a shame Pixar wasn’t able to create a character like Cruz until now. She is one of the better things to come from this summer’s Cars 3 release and she might actually be one of my all-time favorite characters now.

Like Merida, I wish I had someone like Cruz to look up to when I was growing up and dreaming about coming to work in the animation industry in Los Angeles.

What I love the most about Cruz is that she showed me it doesn’t matter where you were born or who your family is, if you set your mind to what you want to achieve in life then you can fulfill your dreams.

People might keep telling you no, no, no; and you might continue to get rejection letter after rejection letter, but you have to keep going, to keep pushing forwards; hearing no or getting a rejection letter does not mean you’ve failed, but giving up does. It’s okay to have doubts, to feel bad about yourself, but you can still carry on and push forwards.

I also really loved the signal she sent to boys and girls alike, how it’s OK to be a girl and be really interested in boy things (like racing cars) or vice versa. In a typical male dominated world, it’s important to show young children that you can do whatever you want; it doesn’t matter if you’re a boy or a girl.

Cruz is the type of female character we need in film and TV now – a woman who stands up for herself, who goes against the norm, and who never gives up her dreams when obstacles are in the way.

Helen Parr AKA Elastigirl 

Helen is important to me, not only because I’ve always dreamed of being a superhero and kicking all sorts of butt, but because she’s a wonderful mother and person to look up to.

At the start of The Incredibles she’s living a pretty normal life, only having to deal with the typical mom duties that come with any parent. But soon it’s clear that Helen can balance both the mom and superhero life when she’s forced to follow and rescue her husband, Bob Parr AKA Mr. Incredible, when he’s off trying to deal with his midlife crisis.

It turns out that Helen actually saves her husband, brings her family closer together, and in turn, is a huge part in actually saving the world from the supervillain Syndrome. Where would we be without her? I’m really excited for The Incredibles 2 and having some more focus on Helen; which is a good sign that Pixar is definitely moving in the right direction regarding female characters.

One of my favorite things about Helen is that she doesn’t take crap from anyone, not her husband, children, or even Edna. She wasn’t about to sit around and wait for her husband to come home, making up different stories in her head as to why he’s been acting so strange lately. She was also not afraid to go against the societal norms at the time and take things into her own hands – she had every right to know what her husband was doing and to go and find him.

Helen is the type of woman and mom I aspire to be one day, with her, anything is possible. She gives me the confidence that I can balance both my work and home life completely if I chose to go down that path.  I work in the animation industry and have hopes of gaining as much experience as I can and moving on to different studios and jobs in the future. Thanks to Helen, I know that I don’t need to wait around for anyone to make the right decisions for me, and it’s possible to have a family and a career at the same time and be happy.

Each female Pixar character has taught me something different about myself throughout the years. What I love most about Pixar films, and the female characters they create, is that they provide a plethora of diverse characters from all ranges of life. Yes, fish and robots and superheroes are all incredibly different, but when you look at the stories that surround each character, and the struggles each woman (or ant) has to overcome, it’s all universal.

Who are some of your favorite Pixar female characters? And why are they so important to you?

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Pixar’s creative advertising – a Cars 3 messenger bot?!

Cars 3, Pixar, Shorts

Posted by Joanna • October 18, 2017

Along with the release of Cars 3 on Digital on the 24th of this month and on Blu-ray on the 7th of November, we’ll be able to see the new Cars 3 short Miss Fritter’s Racing Skoool.

Miss Fritter, the strong and self-assured school bus voiced by Lea DeLaria, will take centre stage in this mini-movie, and Pixar have come up with a characteristically creative way to advertise it: you can talk to Miss Fritter herself on Facebook Messenger!

By following the link in the tweet above, you’ll be directed to Messenger where you can talk to a cleverly programmed ‘Miss Fritter bot’. The opening screen reads:

“Rev your engine and become a world class racer! In this Cars 3 bot, attend Miss Fritter’s Racing Skoool and learn to race like the famous Lightning McQueen.”

You’ll then get to do a fun quiz – there are lots of different questions you might get asked – and at the end, you get rewarded with a teaser for the new short!

It’s great to see Pixar trying out some new advertising techniques, and this one was particularly fun to experience. If you have Facebook Messenger yourself, then it’s well worth a quick test-drive – you even get a certificate.

 

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Cars 3 zooms onto Blu-ray and DVD!

Cars 3, DVD, Merchandise

Posted by Simoa • October 16, 2017

Coco is still a month away from its long-awaited theatrical release, but Pixar’s 2017 summer flick is available on digital just next week. You can relive the adrenaline fueled adventure of Cars 3 with our favorite reformed rookie #95 and his awesome new trainer, Cruz Ramirez on October 24th. The DVD and Blu-ray’s release date is set for November 7th. As expected with Pixar home releases, there’s tons of exclusive features and bonus content that’s sure to be as rewarding as watching the film itself.

There are a couple of options for what you can download and bring home:

Digital

  • Exclusive New Mini-Movie: Miss Fritter’s Racing Skoool
  • Theatrical Short: Lou
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Cruz Ramirez: The Yellow Car that Could
  • + more

Blu-Ray

  • Includes all of the special features as the digital
  • Limited time offer of a free collectible lithograph set (!)

VUDU Special Offer

  • 3 Cars Shorty Shorts: Hiccups, Bugged, Spinning
  • Exclusive New Mini-Movie: Miss Fritter’s Racing Skoool
  • Theatrical Short: Lou
  • Deleted Scenes

Target Exclusive Blu-ray

  • 32-Page Storybook
  • Exclusive New Mini-Movie: Miss Fritter’s Racing Skoool
  • Theatrical Short: Lou
  • Deleted Scenes

Best Buy Exclusive

  • Collectible Steelbook
  • Exclusive Mini-Movie: Miss Fritter’s Racing Skoool
  • Theatrical Short: Lou
  • Deleted Scenes

Walmart Exclusive Blu-Ray 

  • 3 Cars Toon Short Films
    Mater: Radiator Springs 500 ½, Monster Truck Mater and Rescue Squad Mater
  • Exclusive New Mini-Movie: Miss Fritter’s Racing Skoool
  • Theatrical Short: Lou
  • Deleted Scenes

4K Ultra HD

This version includes all the Blu-ray features but with some spiffy technical specs:

  • 4K Resolution
  • High Dynamic Range (HDR)
  • Immersive Audio

Us too, little green guys~

Which of these tantalizing options will you be picking up? Be sure to let us know! And have the ride of your life when Cars 3 hits digital on October 24th and Blu-ray and DVD on November 7th.

 

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Review: Cars 3 Pays Homage to the Past and Looks to the Future

Brian Fee, Cars 3, Review

Posted by Simoa • June 15, 2017

The Cars trilogy is quite unique among franchise films. The first film in 2006 chronicled Lightning McQueen’s growth from arrogant rookie to humble racer with a deeper understanding of the road. Five years later, Cars 2 shifted gears and protagonists entirely. This time Mater was thrust into the spotlight, the unlikely hero of an international spy adventure. Now Cars 3, from director Brian Fee, has centered #95 again. It echoes the first film in a beautiful, wholly distinct way.

Lightning McQueen (voiced dependably as always by Owen Wilson) is older now – a fact no one refuses to let him forget. A new generation of racers have arrived on the scene, and with their advanced training technology, begin to phase out the veterans. It’s a rapid process as these young cars replace all the older ones, baffling Lightning as he watches all his friends retire. Constantly asked if he’s considering retirement himself, his defiant refusal leads him to declare, “I decide when I’m done.” No one is pushing Lightning McQueen out of the sport he loves, not even ultra-fast Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer).

Storm dominated the previews and trailers for this film. He’s less of a rival and more of a threat to Lightning. It’s as if McQueen can’t even compete with this brazen hotshot. If you compared the Lightning of the first Cars with Jackson Storm, you would find that they’re both incredibly cocky, but Jackson is more insufferable and unlikable by far. Lightning and his rival Chick Hicks (who makes an appearance in this film, voiced by Bob Peterson this time), both traded insults and boasted of their skills in Cars. Jackson Storm cuts a little deeper. For him, it’s not only about winning – it’s about pushing these older cars off the road and reminding them at every turn that they don’t belong anymore.

This is what our beloved #95 is up against. Can he master the new technology? Will he make a grand comeback? Is he finished or is he only just beginning?

A devastating crash is the turning point, forcing Lightning to retreat in seclusion to Radiator Springs and reflect on his options. He decides that retirement is still out of the question, and with some much needed encouragement from Sally (Bonnie Hunt), sets out to begin training. Lightning gets a brand new, state of the art training center, complete with the very same racing simulator that all the rookies train with. His new sponsor (say goodbye to Rusteze!) is the shrewd Sterling (Nathan Fillion), who is later revealed to be more concerned with building the McQueen brand.

His new trainer is bubbly and irrepressible Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonso), as sunny as her bright yellow paint.

Cruz is an experienced technician and trainer, eager to work with her idol, whom she dubs her senior project. (Lightning is old and never hears the end of it). Her senior project proves to be a little too impatient to use the new equipment – which results in damage to the simulator. What’s more, Sterling doubts whether Lightning can race at all. He’s prepared to just market the McQueen legacy but Lightning sets an ultimatum. He’ll train with Cruz – the old fashioned way – for the Florida 500. Whatever the outcome of that race, he still decides when he’s done.

Cars 3 is really not your typical comeback story. From the previews, it looked as if Lightning would need to adapt in order to keep up with this new crop of rookies. This is a story about learning to evolve and it offers a grounded, realistic approach to dreams, quite a mature outlook for a film series that’s been derided as mere kids stuff.

The futuristic tech, as enticing as it looks, takes a backseat to the traditional. Lightning and Cruz actually race outside as opposed to the simulator, driving on dirt and sand. This film isn’t anti-technology, but it does caution against relying on it too much. As we once learned from The Incredibles, “there’s no school like the old school.”

The old school figures prominently in Cars 3, with its frequent flashbacks to Lightning’s late mentor, Doc Hudson (Paul Newman). Hearing Doc again, seeing him briefly, is one of the most emotionally fulfilling aspects of this latest installment. His spirit is truly alive in this film and his role lends added meaning to the story, as he inspires Lightning on his journey. Hud as he’s called (perhaps a reference to Newman’s 1963 film, Hud?), was once the Fabulous Hudson Hornet, the greatest ever. McQueen discovers that he’s at the same point in his career as Doc was following his career ending crash. Doc never retired of his own free will; he was forced out and told to make room for the younger cars. Lightning is determined to avoid that fate. And avoid it he does.

There is a moment in Cars 3, one so glorious, that it caused the audience at my screening to erupt into cheers and applause. I never would have thought it possible, that any film in this series could elicit such a response. For many of us fans, Pixar films are still excellent, including the less critically acclaimed. Once considered the best in American feature animation, the studio is now underestimated, because of its sequels, because Cars 2 is their unforgivable misstep, according to many. This trilogy has drawn tepid responses at best and flat out antagonistic ones at worst. But Cars 3 more than justifies its existence, and not only because of that pivotal scene.

Do not underestimate Pixar.

And do not underestimate Cars 3! A recent IndieWire feature on animator Jude Brownbill highlighted the film’s theme of female empowerment. Cruz isn’t merely there to guide Lightning to victory. She’s got a story as well, a sobering one that wakes McQueen up to how much he’s taken for granted. Making Cruz such a central character further solidifies Pixar’s commitment to bringing well rounded female characters to the screen.

Cars 3 boasts gorgeous animation and art work as well. Some might think it’s not one of Pixar’s most visually inventive films, but glossy paint jobs that gleam, rigging character models of cars so they’re just as expressive as human characters, is really no small feat. Even the designs are impressive, with little touches of human characteristics. When looking at McQueen and Storm side by side, their contrast is quite stark; the rookie is youthful and sleek, much more angular in appearance.

We’re treated to lovely scenery too, a dazzling array of color palettes, bright and warm hues, sparkling water surfaces, and thrilling action set pieces that set the heart racing.

Brian Fee delivered on his promise of making this film return to its roots. It showcases a reverence for the culture of racing and cars that was so keenly, vividly realized in the original film. Randy Newman’s score is another throwback, transporting us to this weird, wonderful universe. The complaints that the world of Cars lacks logic strike me as very odd. Character is what counts, and the filmmakers have always imbued these anthropomorphic cars with abundant appeal and personality.

Cars 3 is an unexpected film, just brimming with heart and passion. As I said, it’s really not a typical comeback story. It’s something much more inspiring.

See it in theaters this Friday!

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Review: Lou is Compassion, Lost and Found

Cars 3, Dave Mullins, Lou, Review, Short Film, Shorts

Posted by Simoa • June 15, 2017

A lost and found box on the school playground looks very ordinary on the outside, but it’s teeming with life and magic within.

Like most of Pixar’s canon, Lou personifies an inanimate object, or in this case, a handful of lifeless, every day objects. All the lost toys and clothes are assembled into a playground guardian, who is otherwise invisible beneath. Lou is one day challenged by a bully who swipes the belongings of the other children. What begins as a funny battle between Lou and J.J. (the bully), evolves into a tender, moving story about compassion. Bullies hurt others because they’ve been hurt themselves. But rather than simply excuse J.J.’s behavior, Lou offers him the opportunity to give and receive compassion.

A wordless short, Lou is one of the studio’s most innovative creations. As Dave Mullins revealed at the press junket last week, the character was animated entirely by hand, with “no computer shortcuts or simulations.” The animation here is truly impressive, as Lou morphs into a variety of clever shapes and disguises.

You can catch a glimpse of Lou’s immense charm in the exclusive clip below.

See Lou with Cars 3 this Friday!

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A chance to win a stunning Dolby-exclusive Cars 3 poster!

Cars 3, Poster

Posted by Joanna • June 15, 2017

The race towards Cars 3 is almost over, and with all these teasers, posters, and interviews it’s definitely been an exciting ride! Dolby Cinema is currently holding a competition where you could win an EXCLUSIVE poster. It really captures that striking Route-66-inspired scenery the Cars universe is set in. Comment on their Facebook post for a chance to win (follow the link for full terms and conditions).

Have you already got your tickets booked? Dolby Cinema offers an amazing theatre experience with high quality Dolby Vision imaging and moving Dolby Atmos audio. Cars 3 is bound to be Pixar’s most stunning entry to the Cars franchise yet. Find your nearest Dolby Cinema here.

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